What's the Plan? Time for the Presidential Candidates to Fess Up

Oct 03, 2012

By Alan W. Houseman

We at CLASP have been following the presidential election closely. Not because of who the candidates are, but because there's so much at stake for the country's future. 46 million Americans live in poverty. 16 million of them are children. The economy is slowly coming back from the brink of complete devastation, and everyday families are looking for real solutions to the continued hardship many face. They deserve a plan from the candidates for meaningful solutions and a vision that will carry us all forward. We know that tough decisions will be made about the country's priorities as we address the fiscal cliff later this year and into 2013. The series of debates beginning tonight offer an opportunity for the candidates to show us just what their priorities are. 

Here are just four issues we hope will get some real attention from the candidates:

Child poverty: One in five children in the United States is poor. Out of all age groups, children have the highest poverty rates - an abysmal sign for our country's future. We know the negative long-term effects even a short spell of poverty has for children. Because of the high stakes, families deserve to hear how the candidates will address child poverty. CLASP and other groups are involved in the #TalkPoverty Twitter campaign to get the debate moderators to raise the issue. Find out more about how you can get involved here >>

An economy that works for everyone: It's not just about jobs, it's about good jobs. Too many of the jobs being created today offer low wages and little or no security, flexibility or benefits. This puts workers and families in a precarious situation where they can be working full-time (and in many cases, holding down several jobs) and still not earning enough to support themselves. If the candidates are serious about improving the economy and the long-term economic health of our communities, they have to discuss improving job quality for everyone. A good place to start is by supporting paid sick days. If you're on Twitter, be sure to follow the #RU4paidsickdays hashtag. We'd also like to hear the candidates discuss how they will expand job training for low-skilled workers, support child care assistance for working parents, and expand access to postsecondary education (increasingly important for landing a job in today's economy) for everyone, but especially older, adult students who have to balance various work and family obligations.

America's youth: Youth employment rates are at the lowest level in more than 60 years. While this is a critical time for young people to develop hard and soft career skills, instead, they are being left behind. In today's climate of cut, cut, cut - what programs and investments will the candidates protect to promote opportunities for young people?

The safety net: For all the talk about the middle-class, it's important to remember the millions of families that are falling out of the middle-class and into poverty. For these families and those that have struggled for generations, the safety net is a lifeline. When the candidates talk about deficit reduction and the need to get spending under control in Washington, we hope they will talk in the same breadth about the need to approach spending cuts in a balanced way that doesn't hurt safety net programs shielding millions of families from further hardship.   

CLASP will be tuning-in to the debate Wednesday evening and tweeting our responses live @CLASP_DC. We hope you will follow along with us.

site by Trilogy Interactive